What if you could just pack your house onto the back of a truck or lift it with a helicopter and move it to an entirely new place, whenever you wanted, without making a negative impact on your temporary home site? Portable modular living spaces go places that other forms of mobile housing can’t - like remote mountain ridges – and easily disassemble. Some are fully self-sufficient while others are only intended as lightweight seasonal shelters but all 13 of these relocatable residences sit lightly upon the earth.
Eco-Temporary Refuge in the Mountains
Seasonal homes don’t have to sit empty for half of the year. The Eco-Temporary Refuge by Andrea Jasci Cimini of CiminiArchitettura was designed for temporary lodging in mountain landscapes where permanent dwellings are impossible or undesirable. Tourists, climbers, hikers and skiers could make use of these self-sufficient, easily movable buildings, which are equipped with solar panels and water systems that make use of snow.
Portable Prefab Paco Unit
You may not imagine that a house measuring just 9 feet square would contain all the necessities of life, but somehow, the Paco prefab unit by Jo Nagasaka and Schemata Architecture Office manages to do just that. The unit has an opening roof to allow sunshine and fresh air into the home and contains a kitchen unit with a sink, a dining table for two, a hammock for sleeping and even a toilet hidden in the floor, which transforms into a shower with the help of a shower curtain hooked to the ceiling. An extra compartment on the exterior allows a guest to stay overnight in a sleeping bag, and can also be used for storage.
Made entirely of locally sourced wood from its current location in Northern Italy, ‘Fincube’ is a transportable low-energy home measuring just less than 155 square feet. Triple-glazed glass insulates the home while a slatted wooden sheath provides shade and privacy.
Port-a-Bach Shipping Container Home
This portable home, named for the New Zealand word referring to small, modest vacation houses, was made using a 20′ shipping container. One side of the container folds down, opening the interior to the outdoors; it includes a double bed, bunk beds, a dressing room, a kitchen and a bathroom, all of which can be separated from the main space using fabric screens. Of course, since it’s made from a shipping container, it’s super easy to move, so owners can simply pack up their lodgings and bring them to their holiday destination.
M House by Michael Jantzen
Bold and futuristic, the M House by Michael Jantzen is a flexible and impermanent mobile structure consisting of large rectangular panels on hinges, attached to seven interlocking cubes. They can be folded in or out to alternately enclose or open spaces, shade them from the sun, deflect rain or block wind. This makes the home extremely adaptable to all manner of new environments as the home moves from place to place.
Built by students at Virginia Tech School of Architecture and Design, Lumenhaus is a compact, movable, sustainable home with lighting, music, draperies and other systems in the home controlled via iPad or iPhone. The home, which won the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe, is entirely solar-powered and was inspired by the iconic Farnsworth House by architect Mies Van Der Rohe.
Kitahaus Relocatable Living & Office Pods
Multi-function pods that can easily be moved from one site to another, Kitahaus prefabs have been used as homes, offices and school buildings. These log-like transportable units, made of timber, have adjustable legs so they can be set up on all sorts of sites including sloping areas.
TRTL Solar Shell Home
Cleverly named to reflect its design and intention – TRTL stands for ‘Technological Residence, Traditional Living – this structure was made specifically for the native peoples of Southern Alberta, Canada. The semi-rounded two-bedroom home, measuring 1000 square feet, features an upper ‘shell’ made of solar panels. In this case, the movability of the home is actually a technicality, but it’s still an interesting feature. TRTL has a temporary foundation that allows it to bypass a law that makes any permanent structure built on a reservation in Canada part of the land rather than privately owned.
ADEX Modular Housing Structure
If it looks unlike any house you’ve ever seen, that’s because it is. The ADEX sustainable modular housing structure consisting of interlocking pieces that can be put together to suit the home site and the owner’s needs. This means each ADEX is totally unique. In addition to its colorful and futuristic appearance, ADEX has a host of interesting and sustainable features including solar panels and heaters, rainwater storage, greywater recycling and even a bio-digester that turns food waste into power for cooking appliances.
XBO Adjustable Mobile Home
This adjustable, sliding mobile home is constructed in the shape of a shipping container to make it super-easy to transport. XBO Mobile is self-sustaining and consists of two sliding parts that open to reveal a 22-foot patio; an additional terrace on the roof is reachable via ladder. XBO is made with birch veneer walls and lots of glass and contains a kitchenette, living room, bathroom and bedroom/office.
Dune Hotel – On-the-Spot Lodging to Order
Imagine being able to choose a rooftop, abandoned lot, park or seaside location and demand that your very own private hotel be set up right then and there. Brazilian Architect Guilherme de Vasconcelos wants to see that happen, envisioning the Dune Hotel as prefab modular lodgings that go wherever they’re wanted by guests. Each lightweight unit is made of EPS and fiberglass-reinforced plastic so they can be shipped easily, quickly and at a relatively low expense.
Archinoma: Pop-Up Beach House
The Archinoma is a geometric pop-up shelter based on the Sierpinski Triangle, made from a metal frame with multiple connection points that allow multiple triangular panels, solid or translucent, to be connected into the three-dimensional shape of the user’s choice. This low-impact structure could theoretically be used as a vacation home, a spa, a cafe, a tea house or any other temporary function, easily set up in practically any location.
Modular Ski Cabin of the Future
Who wouldn’t want to stay in a flying saucer? While designer Matti Suuronen’s 1968 ‘Futuro House’ doesn’t actually fly, it does easily assemble and disassemble in rough mountainous terrain, making it ideal as a modular ski cabin. The 10-foot-tall, 26-foot-wide fiberglass-reinforced plastic living unit represented an imagined future where people living as nomads could take their movable homes on the go. One of these homes is available for rent in Wisconsin, and another is currently on display in the Museum Boljmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.